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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
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Bible Commentaries
John 17

Godbey's Commentary on the New TestamentGodbey's NT Commentary

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Verses 1-26



John 17:0 . O the infinite moment, interest, value, and consolation of this prayer! Because it is the last, regular, formal petition our Savior offered for His disciples in all ages and nations, consequently we are all equally interested in this farewell prayer. “ Jesus spoke these words, and lifting up His eyes, to heaven, said, Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, in order that the Son may glorify Thee: as Thou hast given to Him authority over all flesh, in order that everything Thou hast given unto Him, He may give eternal life unto them.” Jesus was glorified when He died, the period of His humiliation having expired. So the saints all enter glorification when they evacuate this body. As to the essence of glorification, we are like a sinner describing regeneration, or an unsanctified Christian expounding that precious grace, as we all have to die in order to be glorified. N. B. Glorification is a spiritual experience, as real as regeneration or sanctification, the soul being glorified when it evacuates the body, and the body when raised from the dead or translated. The human soul of Jesus was glorified when it evacuated His body, and His body when He arose from the dead.

This is eternal life, when they know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” The unsaved are all utterly ignorant of God and His Christ, an introduction to the Father and the Son by the Holy Ghost being always synonymous with salvation.

I glorified Thee upon the earth, having completed the work which Thou hast given Me that I may do it.” When on the Cross He bowed His head, He said, with His dying words, “ It is finished.” Hence it is here spoken proleptically, actually being consummated on the cross.

And now glorify Thou Me, Father, with Thyself, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” We see here a confirmation of the pre-existence of His humanity. Nineteen hundred years before He was born in Bethlehem He visited Abraham at Mamre in the form of a man, and ate with him. He laid aside this glory when He came down in His humiliation to suffer and die for a guilty world. When He finished His expiatory atonement, the Father conferred on Him this glory again.

I have manifested Thy name to the people whom Thou hast given: Me out of the world.” Eklektos, “elect,” is from ek, “out,” and lego, “to choose.” Hence the elect are, those whom God chose out of the world and gave His Son. “ They were Thine, and Thou gavest them to Me; and they have kept Thy word. Now they know that all things so many as Thou hast given Me are with Thee. Because I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest unto Me, and they received them, and they truly know that I came out from Thee, and they believed that Thou hast sent Me. I pray for these; I pray not for the world, but for these whom Thou hast given unto Me; because they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.” You see from this prayer that sanctification, for which He is praying, is only for His disciples, and not for the people of the world and make you a disciple, and the other to give farewell prayer and fail to see the two works of grace in sanctification; i.e., the one to take you out of the world, and make you a disciple, and the other to give you the sanctification for which Jesus prays for all of His disciples.

Holy Father, keep them through Thy name whom Thou hast given unto Me, in order that they may be one as We are.” You see clearly from this prayer that sanctification is the only unifier of the Lord’s disciples. We are all witnesses that the true sanctification this day destroys all sectarians division, bringing the people of God into glorious unity and harmony. You see here that all sectarian divisions are interdicted by our Lord’s farewell prayer.

When I was with them, I kept them whom Thou hast given Me unto Thy name, and preserved them; and none of them perished, except the son of perdition, in order that the Scripture may be fulfilled.” “Son of destruction” is a peculiar Oriental phrase, simply meaning that he was destroyed, and not involving the idea of necessity in the matter.

“And now I come to Thee” spoken proleptically; and verified the next day at 3 P.M. “ I speak all things in the world, in order that they may have My joy complete in them.” We can not ignore the human intellect in our efforts to reach and save people, but must recognize it and govern ourselves accordingly. Jesus observed this principle by plainly telling them all the facts appertaining to the redemptive scheme, the Holy Ghost, subsequently not only lighting up their minds, but wonderfully illuminating the words and predictions of Jesus.

I have given unto them Thy Word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world.” Regeneration takes people out of the world, and sanctification takes the world out of them thus rendering God’s true people pre-eminently unworldly. O what an emphasis Jesus lays upon these facts!

“Sanctify them through Thy truth. Thy Word is truth.” The Bible is the volume of truth, containing all the truth which the world has ever received, other books only being true as they harmonize with the Bible. Here you see that God’s Word is the only medium of our sanctification. O how we should devour it day by day! The Holy Spirit is the Agent of our sanctification; the blood of Jesus the element, Divine elixir; the Word the medium; and faith the condition.

“I pray not for these only, but for those who believe on Me through their word, in order that they may all be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they may also be in Us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” Here we see that our Lord specifically prays for the sanctification of all the Christians in all ages, in order to the unification of His people on the basis of the Divine unity. As the Father and the Son are one, either in the other, so all of the Lord’s people, regardless of race, color, sect, or nationality, shall be one body, perfectly harmonious in all things essential to salvation appertaining to real spirituality. Hence, you see, sanctification is the Savior’s basis of Christian union. A thousand schemes have been launched, having in view the unification of God’s people in the earth, and all collapsed, ultimating only in the addition of another sect, to join the belligerent parties and augment the babel already blinding the popular mind to the true religion, and girdling the globe with confusion. How strange that people claiming to be the followers of Jesus will not sit meek at His feet and let Him teach them in all things! If all religious denominations would see that the Lord’s prayer for their sanctification is answered, the union of Christians in all lands would follow as normally as every substance casts a shadow.

I have given unto them the glory which Thou hast given unto Me, in order that they may be one as We are one.” You see there is an especial glory in the union of all Christians. Like the old man who had been grieved over the disharmony of his sons so that he must die, who called them all to his bedside, and ordered each one of the five to bring a stick, and then tie them all in a bundle. Now, beginning with the youngest, he had him try to break the bundle. Each one in turn, up to the eldest, tried, and utterly failed. Then he had the bundle untied, giving each one a stick, and ordered him to break it. In a moment the five sticks were all broken. Now he said: “My sons, you see how there is strength in union, and weakness in disharmony. When I am gone, will you live in peace and harmony, helping one another?” No wonder the devil has an easy victory over all the Churches, when they expend their strength fighting one another, instead of uniting their forces against him. O what a glory would follow the union of all Christians, taking the whole world by conquest for Jesus, driving the devil from all his hiding-places, bringing on the millennium, and expediting the return of our glorious King! All this would follow the sanctification for which our Lord importuned His Father in His valedictory prayer.

I in them, and Thou in Me, in order that they may be perfected into one, that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and Thou hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me.” Here, you see, our Lord prays for the perfection of the Christians, synonymously and interchangeably with His petition for their sanctification, illustrating the fact so patent in Scripture that these two words refer to the same state of grace; i.e., full salvation. You see, also, by the phraseology that our Lord makes perfection the unifier of all Christians, the grand end here contemplated being the conversion of the world. I am an old revivalist. I have frequently gone into a wicked community, and witnessed a wonderful Pentecostal revival, uniting all Christians of the different denominations, the happy result of seeing all the sinners come down at the altar, weeping over their sins and seeking the Lord, following as a normal consequence.

Father, whatsoever Thou hast given to Me, I wish that where I am, there they may be also with Me, in order that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given unto Me; because Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world.” What a sweet and loving petition for the elect whom the Father gave Him! Every saint says “Amen!” as our hearts leap with enthusiasm in contemplation of eternally abiding where Jesus is.

Righteous Father, the world does not know Thee; but I know Thee, and these know that Thou hast sent Me.” While the world is ignorant of God, to their ineffaceable, shame and eternal ruin, we must not forget that worldly Churches are equally ignorant of God, the same being true of worldly preachers and leaders. These sad facts explain many problems in this life which otherwise would be riddles indissoluble.

I have made known to them Thy name, and will make it known, in order that the Divine love with which Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” 1 John 4:0 says twice, “God is love;” i.e., agape. Hence, you see, this agape is the Divine nature. The summary of this wonderful farewell prayer is, that His people shall be filled with the heavenly agape, and that He shall abide in them continually. O what a prayer! And yet Jesus is not mocking us. There is a glorious feasibility of its full answer climaxing the happy experience of all His disciples in every age and nation.

Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on John 17". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/john-17.html.
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